We've had vacations, staycations and even daycations but there's another phenomenon causing British tourist boards to rub their knees with excitement - the rise of the TV Tourist.
From TV locations to travel destinations, the rise of the TV Tourist is gathering pace. These viewers want to take their television consumption to another level and their numbers are increasing. TV tourism means millions of viewers are now flocking to the location of their favourite shows.
Broadchurch – Dorset’s West Bay
After the success of ITV’s murder mystery, Broadchurch, Dorset is the latest county to prosper from this unique surge in British tourism. It seems murder is proving to be good business for West Bay, where Broadchurch is filmed. Restaurants, hotels and shops are all profiting from the increased number of visitors to the area. Makeshift Marples and prospective Poirots are proving to be a great asset to UK tourism. Colin Wood, a spokesman for the West Dorset Council, confirmed, “that there were 100,000 unique visits to visit-dorset.com in both March and April (2013). This is the most unique visits the site has ever had “. And West Bay’s local businesses hope that the second series of Broadchurch has a similar impact.
Downton Abbey – Highclere Castle
Another hot property for TV tourism is Highclere Castle in Berkshire, or Downton Abbey as it’s known to it’s legion of loyal fans. Before the show, Highclere Castle needed £11.75m of repairs and things were looking pretty gloomy for the estate. But when Downton hit our screens, visitor figures rose to 1200 per day in the summer months and the owners could start the much needed repair work. Highclere Castle owner, Lord Canarvon said, ‘Downton came along and we became a major tourist attraction. It has been a wonderful thing for us and our visitor numbers have doubled.’
Gavin and Stacey – Barry Island
Barry Island home of Gavin and Stacey has always been a popular holiday spot thanks to its seafront location and famous funfair. But thanks to TV tourism, it’s attracting more visitors than ever before. One company even runs a tour around the show’s most memorable locations like Stacey and Gwen’s house, Nessa’s booth at the arcade and the caravan where she lives with Neil, The Baby. And you’ll see the sights from the comfort of Dave Coaches’ coach!
It would appear that TV tourists have long memories too. Visitors are still flocking to Turville in Buckinghamshire, home to the Vicar of Dibley – despite the last episode airing in 2007! But The Vicar of Dibley is set to return in March 2015 for a Comic Relief Special. Our advice to Turville’s locals? Book your favourite restaurant table now, nab that parking space and set up a lemonade stand as an increase in your congregation is almost certain!
Have you visited any film or TV locations?